How to make curve along gate top - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-23-2019, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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How to make curve along gate top

Hi All,
Just joined found and joined this forum and have my first question.
Im planning to make a wooden driveway gate and have a picture only of one Im going to attempt. While the pic is redwood im pretty sure, I will be using cedar instead. Looking at it I think Ive got the biggest part of it figured out except for that curved piece along the top. I dont need this exact curve but something close. Any ideas on how I can do that ?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-23-2019, 07:10 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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That's a reverse or "s" curve .....

It's easy to make a curve like that with a jig saw or a circular saw with a small diameter blade. However, You need a wide piece of wood to start with and lay out the curve on it. My fence has a simple arch curve from end to end on 10 ft long sections. I use a battery powered circular saw and cut to a line I made using 3 nail and a thin strip under tension between them. For an "S" curve you'd need about 5 or 6 nails or screws and a long thin strip. This video is not quite the same method as I use, but it still works well:



Another method that uses a thin strip of wood under tension is a "bow" arch:
https://ibuildit.ca/projects/drawing-bow/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-23-2019 at 07:19 PM.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-23-2019, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so lets assume all the adjoining boards that make up the frame are 2x6. If started with a 2x8? for that top piece to do the cut, im still not sure what you mean about using the nails to lay it out.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-23-2019, 08:12 PM
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You basically wrap a thin strip of wood around the nails which are placed in positions that help outline the curve, similar to this, some nails will be above the strip others below it:
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-23-2019, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, ok. I think I understand now. I just need to get a few nails and do some practicing it looks like.

Thanks everyone.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-23-2019, 10:12 PM
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Use some scrap plywood to make a template, that way there are no nail holes in your final product.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-24-2019, 07:11 AM
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The wider the board the bigger the arch. If you use a 2x8 you will barely see the arch. Starting with a 2x10 or 2x12 will give more dramatic results.

Rough out an arch that you like on paper, then lay a board on the pattern to figure out how wide a board you need to meet your desired look.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-24-2019, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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I guess one of my main concerns with using much wider than a 2x8 for the top piece was in looking at the picture, it seems to me all the boards that make up the frame along the edges end up the same width of board. Im planning to do all the frame with 2x6 except for the X braces in the middle that look to me like they are of less thickness than the rest of the frame. I plan to use 1x6 for those as well as all the pickets that make up the height of the gate.
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-24-2019, 08:47 AM
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The wider board will allow larger radius curves

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
The wider the board the bigger the arch. If you use a 2x8 you will barely see the arch. Starting with a 2x10 or 2x12 will give more dramatic results.

Rough out an arch that you like on paper, then lay a board on the pattern to figure out how wide a board you need to meet your desired look.


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.

Your curves must fit on one board width OR you'll need to glue two boards together. Your layout will determine what approach you need. A template would be best for symettry and easy of duplication so a thin 1/4' plywood will work. You will probably need 4 pieces.... ?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-24-2019, 11:29 AM
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Just to expand on the wider board situation, what ever width you use the frame will still be the same width, just a greater curve:
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-25-2019, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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I finally got the pattern layed out. After a while of trial and error I realized I would need to make a top and bottom cut since I needed the end result to always be the exact same width throughout the entire length, not just make the cut along one side. Attached are a couple of pics as I ended up using a spare piece of PVC screen molding and nails to hold it in place and then once I traced that out, using a homemade protractor to trace that line exactly 5 1/2" a part throughout the pattern. The 2nd pic is of both lines. Just need to figure the most accurate way to cut it now.
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post #12 of 17 Old 07-28-2019, 04:52 PM
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Hi Zetmandu,

I don't have a lot to add thus far that Frank C. hasn't shared that is most accurate in context to your challenge.

What I would add is more an observation of current trends in methods trying to replicate such project with...what again...once was traditional woodworking methods. The choice then is up to you to choose the modality you wish to practice or afford yourself of.

I see potential wonderful project like this gate being "reinvented" to fit the modern context, concepts, and approaches in woodworking...which seldom (if ever?) are the most enduring or actually applicable. These modern solution sometimes work (or work for a while...at least) yet are often just "dumb-down" and/or industrial approaches to traditional methods...modern in nature and condition yet seldom better (or more effective?) solutions to the original (aka traditional context) of a given task or the methods to achieve it.

What I can share, that does give me pause from your most recent post and photo is the lack of proper grain slope for your gate top, or mitigation methods to counter potentials in grain slip and checking. This is perhaps one of the more common mistakes (for lack of better description?) in creating what once would have been achieved by properly selecting a piece of timber that more dynamically fits the topography and couture of the desire shape...or...jointing several germane piece together...or...bending work. Thus, matching in grain slop and/or contours so to be fit the shape and not to distort and/or disfigure over time. Such outdoor frameworks in wood are subject to many extremes in not only thermal flux seasonally yet also extreme moisture swings, and why many (most?) of such work is approached more like a traditional timber frame (aka green wood) since it will never really be "dry" within the modern contextual practice. As such, the finishes used today only exacerbate the rapid breakdown to the woods interstitial structure because, once again, the traditional finishing modalities are abandoned for "plastic" film finishes that do little more than either trap moisture there by accelerating decay of the poorly selected wood.

In closing I would offer looking at the oldest versions of such gates (over 3 centuries or more)...how they are created...what species...in what methods as it relates to joinery...and compare them to the longest lived gates we see today in the modern context which is maybe 30 to 40 years for the best of them...

Food for thought and consideration as you proceed, or for future projects...

j

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post #13 of 17 Old 07-28-2019, 06:27 PM
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To duplicate the top curve ......

Just cut it out/off from the board and slide it down the 5 1/2" and then trace it. Your new lower line will be a duplicate of the top line.
Simple. No need for the dividers or pencil compass. and free hand drawing.......
As for cutting it accurately, a jig/saber saw will do just fine.


Another simple way to duplicate the top curve is to repeat the nail locations 5 1/2" below on a vertical lines dropped down with a tri-square and insert your molding. Then trace it as you did on the top curve. No freehand drawing required with this method either ......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #14 of 17 Old 07-28-2019, 06:51 PM
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As to the "simplist" templating methods...I forgot to add to last post...

These modern methods are often overly made complex in nature and application. Once again the traditional methods (this is but one of many) are often empirical in nature and effect.

I really like that you thought of employing dividers to create a layout method to suite your needs. This is one of them, to be sure!

A common one also, and found in more than one culture and craft application (boat building, textiles/tailoring, ceramics, stone carving and even Smithing) is the simple paper-velum/leather (often today replaced by plastic templating material) that can be laid out by "eye" or countless traditional modalities, naturally has a "yin-yang" ability of layout by simply flipping over and can be used over and over again. They are easy to store and keep in for future use as well. The large examples can be several meters long.

The next method worthy of note worth mentioning is a "story pole/stick" system that simply records the contours in a numerical fashion down the length of the "pole/stick" there by providing the height and depth accordingly of a given topography. This then registered off a center line applied to the plank/timber to be contoured or the center line of the bending jig to be laid out in accordance to the datum on the story stick...Simple repeatable without fail and easy to once again store and repeat latter in application...

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post #15 of 17 Old 07-28-2019, 10:57 PM
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Don't expect that by moving the top template down it will give a guide to cut the bottom, you are dealing with a different radius on each of the curves, this is the result you will arrive at:
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 01:27 AM
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https://www.cannockgates.co.uk/woode...hardwood-gates

This is where I get my gates. Bound to be similar in US.
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-29-2019, 08:28 AM Thread Starter
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Morning all and thanks for the suggestions and observations.

I should also clarify that the board in the picture with the design drawn on it is also just going to be used as a pattern and not the actual top of either of the gates. Since Ive got to draw/cut 2 of these I wanted to make sure they were as identical as possible plus I wanted to practice my cutting method before I tired it for the first time on my actual pieces. I did end up using a circular saw for the cut as it ended up only being one curve that was more than the circular saw could do accurately. For that curve I just stayed on the waste side of the board then cleaned it all up to the line with a belt sander.



I would also add that im going to be using cedar for the actual gate with half lap joints. I dont have a table saw/dado blade for that but do have a 12" radial arm saw and found a method to cut those with that. Not quite as clean as a table saw for sure initially but again, cleaned them up with a sander and the 4 joints I did on my practice frame ended up being pretty accurate and tight.


So not that Im about done practicing, I hope to be moving on to the actual gate this week.


to johnep, thanks for the link to other gates. I did see some similar here but it was the cost that scared me off. A similar size to what I hope to end up with, each half of the gate will be 7ft x 6.6 was going to cost at least $2500.00. Based on local cedar prices here in NC. I hope to be able to do it for about $700.
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